Unfair advantage

Published on Jun 18, 2019

I've heard the phrase "unfair advantage" used a lot in the context of competition and differentiating oneself. The idea is that you have unique skills or experience that give you an advantage over other people operating in your same space. These could be natural-born talents or skills you've developed over time. 

@juliasaxena recently wrote about cognitive biases, and I wonder if there is a name for the bias that you tend to assume other people have the same general skills and knowledge that you do.

What is interesting about an unfair advantage is that it may take you awhile to figure out that you have one. 

I learned how to type in high school typing class on good ol' Apple IIe computers. I got fast very quickly, so fast that the teacher refused to face off in a typing contest in front of the class. My dad was also a very fast typer, but he started on a typewriter as evidenced by how hard he would unnecessarily pound the keys of a computer keyboard. 

One of the reasons I can type fast is I have small hands. These hands aren't that great for playing a piano or a guitar, but they sure can crank away at a standard keyboard. The other reason is that I memorized all the keys so that I can touch type without looking at the keyboard. The last time I did a typing test I was over 100 WPM while maintaining accuracy. 

For some reason I assumed most people can type just as fast as I do, but boy is that a false assumption. The other day I was sitting with an admin person to train her on a particular function. You would think an admin person based on the roles and responsibilities would be a pretty good typist. She still had to look at the keyboard, and in my estimation was probably typing around 35-40 WPM. 

Many kids are learning on iPads nowadays. My nephew got used to typing with his thumbs on the iPad. This younger generation is in for a rude awakening when they realize they are entering a business world that still relies heavily on standard computers and keyboards. 

As long as we continue to use this method to work and interact, I managed to carve out an unfair advantage. The question now becomes the following: How can I leverage this unfair advantage to be more productive and provide better value and service to others?